IV DRIP: Accurate, Low-cost, Mechanical Device to Regulate Intravenous Fluid Delivery for Children in the Developing World

WINNER: Winner of Technology to Aid Underserved Populations and Individuals with Disabilities Category

Diarrhea-induced dehydration is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old [1]. Most of these deaths occur in the developing world. Severe dehydration is treated with intravenous (IV) therapy. One risk of IV therapy is over-hydration, which can to lead to severe complications and death. In the developed world, infusion pumps are commonly used to regulate the delivery of IV therapy, but these technologies are too expensive and complex for many hospitals in the developing world. Pediatric wards in these hospitals lack sufficient financial, electrical, and staff resources to monitor children undergoing IV therapy, often causing clinicians to forego treatment entirely.

We have developed IV DRIP—a simple, low-cost, mechanical automatic volume regulator to deliver intravenous fluid in low-resource settings. The device consists of two levers; an IV bag hangs on the upper lever, while a counterweight hangs on the lower, notched lever. The position of this counterweight dictates the volume of fluid dispensed. When the target volume is delivered, the levers tip and kink the IV tubing, stopping fluid flow and thus preventing over-hydration.

Tests have shown that IV DRIP can deliver fluid volumes from 50 mL to 800 mL in 50 mL increments with 97.5% accuracy. Our device is comprised of parts that cost under $80, whereas commercially available infusion pumps cost $1000-$3500. IV DRIP is an affordable, accurate tool to help save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children annually.

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